- Outright dismissal of what you do.
- Making light of what you do (not appreciating how important writing is to you).
- Claims anyone can do it (so why aren't they then?).
- People genuinely asking if it really matters. (Yes it does. You can tell a lot about a country in how it treats writers. If a country is genuinely free, then allowing for the laws of libel, most people will be able to write what they mostly like when they like. There should also be the right to reply).
- Children's writing is usually looked down on (when it shouldn't be. Writing for children of whatever age range is difficult but if you get this right, you will encourage children to read for life. Authors of books that are YA upwards, including myself, are genuinely grateful for our colleagues in children's writing. People don't just come into bookshops to buy books. They're there because they have a lifelong love of reading and that starts with reading children's classic literature etc).
Sometimes I think writers can "do themselves down" and I'd urge against that. For my money, a "real writer" is one who is committed to writing regularly, whether that's daily, weekly or what have you, and whether they write fiction, non-fiction or both. This topic came up as a response to my most successful (ever!) Facebook post about How to Tell You're a Real Writer (copy of the text only below). This was written very much with tongue firmly in cheek.
How to tell you are a "real writer":-
1. You can feel almost murderous at the sight of a misplaced apostrophe.
2. You can talk about the "its" versus "it's" rule until the cows come home, though you do your best to avoid cliche (!).
3. You really don't understand people who claim they never read books.
4. You don't want to understand people who claim they never read books.
5. You do actually write (and feel very proud of yourself whether you've written 50 words or 5K).
6. You do know how to spell alliteration and, better still, can drop the word into conversation. (You do, too, much to the consternation of your family who have this nagging fear you are obsessed. You do not share this fear. You know you ARE obsessed and simply don't care).
7. You book your spot at Swanwick at midnight on the date they open to bookings. Can't take any chances now, can we?
8. Your conversations with your characters usually make more sense and are far more interesting than most conversations you have with non-writers, family and close friends excepted (but only if you're lucky with your family and friends).
9. The moment you hear you are going to be published is met by screams and whoops. Briefly you wonder where the noise is coming from and then realise it is coming from you. (You don't care about this either).
10. You absolutely have to have photos in your Facebook posts.